GoPro Hero 11 Black
“The GoPro Hero 11 Black now has a larger sensor and exciting new features under a familiar exterior.”
Backwards compatible with existing accessories
New wide-angle hyperview mode
Improved super smooth stabilization
Includes Enduro battery as standard
Indicator noises can be confusing
A little expensive
Falling leaves, chilly nights, pumpkin spice, and the latest GoPro camera hitting shelves – are all seasonal features that herald the onset of fall. The GoPro Hero 11 Black is here, and despite a familiar exterior, there’s plenty of new stuff to consider under the hood. I scoured southwest Washington to test this rugged action camera, including ziplining over a canyon at ZiplineX in Amboy.
With all this experience under my belt, let’s dig in and find out if the Hero 11 is the right action camera for you.
Table of Contents
The GoPro Hero 11 is outwardly nearly identical to the Hero 10, the only difference being a 1 replacing the 0 on the side. However, I don’t blame this design decision by GoPro – after all, why waste a good thing? What GoPro has here works great, and I honestly can’t think of what else they could change on the outside that would improve the camera.
Sticking with the same design is actually a pro-consumer decision, as it means current users can easily use existing accessories previously released for the Hero 10. The entire Creator Edition kit will work with the Hero 11, including including the Volta Battery Grip, Media Mod and LED Light, which have become essential content creation tools for me.
The GoPro Hero 11’s image sensor is larger than the Hero 10’s, but only vertically. GoPro has added some height to the sensor, which means you can now shoot both horizontal and vertical footage simultaneously without having to choose between the two formats. This is important to me, because this year I started incorporating vertical video content creation into my repertoire. Now I can use the Hero 11 to shoot my longer YouTube videos and also capture short vertical clips to share across multiple platforms.
Another benefit of shooting in full frame mode with the Hero 11 is that that extra height means increased flexibility when editing. I can basically adjust my camera angle after the fact or create panoramic shots in post-processing while still maintaining a sharp, high-resolution image. Speaking of post-processing, the Hero 11 can now take 10-bit color which provides even greater latitude to extract detail from crushed shadows and blown highlights. Another video quality improvement is that the Hero 11 can now shoot at up to 120Mbps bitrate, while the Hero 10 maxes out at 100Mbps. The Hero 11 can record 5.3K video at up to 60 fps, 4K at up to 120 frames per second (fps), and 2.7K at up to 240 fps for super slow motion.
Also new to the GoPro Hero 11 is Hyperview Mode, which dramatically increases the field of view compared to the Hero 10’s Superview Mode. It’s not quite a replacement for the Max Lens Mod, but it does provide an angle much wider than ever before. native to Hero Black cameras.
GoPro has also improved the Hero 11’s video stabilization with Hypersmooth 5.0 and 360 Horizon Lock. Hypersmooth 5.0 offers a noticeable improvement over Hero 10 stabilization, especially when shooting in 4:3 aspect ratio. And 360 Horizon Lock will keep the horizon level even if the camera rotates around 360 degrees.
Hypersmooth 5.0 offers a noticeable improvement over the stabilization of the Hero 10.
In terms of stills, the larger 27-megapixel sensor is definitely a boon for photographers, especially if you like square shots, but it also provides extra flexibility when editing to crop to different aspect ratios. for different compositions. Personally, I almost never take stills with action cameras, but if you’re adventurous, sometimes you’ll want to take a single shot, and if the only camera on you is a GoPro, then it’ll be a nice good work. It can even burst shoot RAW images for up to 10 seconds.
Last but not least, the Hero 11 now features new long exposure night modes, including star trails, light painting, and vehicle light trails. I love astrophotography and was very impressed with the quality of the star trail videos I was able to capture. Each star trail video consumed an entire battery for 8-10 seconds of footage, but it was well worth it. Also, if you get the Volta Battery Grip, you’ll be able to shoot more and longer star trail videos. The results are simply stunning and can boost the production value of almost any video.
Between the larger sensor, improved stabilization, and new shooting capabilities, the Hero 11 is a major upgrade over the Hero 10. The footage has a remarkably realistic quality that I think really immerses the viewer in the experience.
The Hero 11 features the same front and back screens as the Hero 10, and that’s fine in my book. They are easily visible in bright sunlight and provide an accurate preview, with good color and contrast.
The Hero 11 never gave me a reason not to trust it to capture key video footage in the moment. It’s very reliable, and I’ve never noticed any serious overheating. It got warm after long recording sessions, but that’s true of every camera I’ve ever used, except maybe the Nikon Z9.
The touchscreen interface is my favorite of any action camera system. Customizable presets make it easy to switch between settings on the fly, and I was able to make changes even while swinging atop a 100-foot pole waiting for my turn on the zipline. You can definitely say that GoPro has refined this system over the past 20 years.
New to the Hero 11 is the ability to switch between easy and pro modes. Easy is great if all you want to do is capture great videos without having to worry about manual settings of any kind. Pro offers a lot of additional customization and this is the mode I gravitate towards.
The camera is extremely durable, as expected, and is waterproof up to 33 feet.
The Hero 11 now comes with GoPro’s Enduro Battery, which extends battery life by up to 38%. It also improves battery life in cold weather and is rated up to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The camera itself also now includes a long-lasting battery mode that reduces power consumption at the cost of image quality. Even when shooting in maximum image quality mode, I was able to record all the exciting moments of a zipline tour and still had 28% battery left at the end.
Premium app and subscription features
GoPro has developed one of the most compelling apps around, with built-in camera control and video editing tools, and offers a $100 per year premium subscription service that’s well worth it. Subscription benefits include unlimited cloud storage, guaranteed replacement of damaged cameras, discounts on cameras and accessories, and the ability to stream on GoPro’s premium live streaming service.
New in Hero 11 are auto-download and auto-generated highlight videos, and cloud-based editing. Although these features weren’t available before launch for me to test, they have a lot of potential. The way it’s supposed to work is that every time you plug your Hero 11 in to charge, it automatically uploads all your new footage to the cloud, where an AI program will then automatically create a video from those footage for you. . You can then edit that video in the cloud or edit one yourself without the help of AI and then share it.
In theory, this could dramatically improve my workflow, although since I only have a slow DSL connection at home, it would be difficult for me to take full advantage of this innovative system created by GoPro. Anyway, if you buy a new GoPro, the subscription is almost mandatory. Considering the $100 discount you get on the camera with the subscription, it pays for itself.
GoPro Hero 11 Price and Availability
The Hero 11 is available now and costs $500, but if you take advantage of GoPro’s premium subscription plan, it drops the price to $400. The Creator’s Edition will cost you $700 or $580 with subscription.
You’re certainly paying a premium for the GoPro Hero 11, although the subscription adds a lot of value. And if you’re willing to wait, the Hero 11 Black Mini will be available on October 25 for $400, or $300 with a subscription. It’ll be a very different camera in many ways, but it includes most of the capabilities of the full-size Hero 11 Black for $100 less.
The product of decades of painstaking refinement
Very few companies have spent as much time developing a product as GoPro, and that really shows just how refined the Hero 11 Black is. Like the Hero 10 before it, it’s a camera I can toss in my bag wherever I go and be confident in its performance. Between its larger sensor, improved stabilization, and other improvements across the board, the Hero 11 is a worthy new entry in a venerable line of action cameras.